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Approximately 250 women from seven southeastern states, Puerto Rico, Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands experienced Sanibel Island during the 63rd Zonta International District 11 Conference. Held at Sundial Beach and Golf Resort, it was a full two-day agenda with a district board meeting, raffles and seminars. As part of the activities, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum director Dr. Jose Leal gave a presentation entitled "Shells and the Stories They Tell Us." He discussed the beauty and uses of shells in culture and also paid tribute to author Anne Morrow Lindbergh by quoting an excerpt from "Gift from the Sea," which dealt a lot with shells as motifs of introspection and thoughts on life. "My goal was to introduce shells and make the connection between shells, which are a major theme here on the islands," said Leal. Zonta International, founded in 1919, is a global service organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. ZI supports projects that improve women’s legal rights, health, education, economic status; end violence against women and enhance women’s self-esteem. Nearly 31,000 members belong to more than 1,200 clubs in 65 countries. Locally, Zonta of Sanibel/Captiva, established in 1987, is an active and award-winning club providing hands-on assistance, advocacy and funding to strengthen women’s lives on the islands, in Lee County and around the world through Zonta International. The 70-plus members who work and live on the islands stand behind a commitment that, as successful women, we have opportunities and resources that should be used to enhance our community. "Our club has been awarded the prestigious ‘Governor’s Cup’ in recognition of a club that has exemplified ideals and objectives of Zonta International five out the last six years, also winning as runner up the sixth year," said Dalia Jakubauskas, a member of the local Zonta. The Sanibel/Captiva Zonta chapter is currently focused on the following five service programs: • Addiction recovery and mental health services for women – In 2011, Zonta is providing grant funding and active services to two Lee County agencies, Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS) and Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT). • Educating and supporting at-risk girls and women – IN 2011, Zonta enters its fourth year of grant support to the PACE Center for Girls of Lee County. One of 17 PACE centers in this unique Florida program for at-risk girls age 12 to 18. • Human trafficking awareness – Since 2004, the local Zonta group has taken a leadership role in spearheading community action and awareness in the fight against human trafficking. Through participation in Lee County activities with law enforcement, human service agencies, faith congregations and Florida Gulf Coast University, together with programs and presentations to Zonta clubs • Literacy and English as a second language – This year, Zonta moves into its fourth year of grants and direct service to improve Lee County women’s literacy, especially among Hispanic women as parents of young children, for whom English is the second language. • Serving Women on the Island (SWOTI) – Being compassionate and involved advocates and volunteers for women on Sanibel and Captiva has been a continuing commitment for Zonta. The club has partnered with three island organizations to provide grants that help low-income women and to offer upbeat social and informational sessions that share friendship and expertise.

 
 

 

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